Maple Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Fall is the time of year when maple-bacon flavors start turning up in the odd niches where pumpkin spice has already been and gone. In this case, I’ve run across a recipe that takes an old favorite and gives it a sweet-n-savoury twist.

MAPLE BACON MASHED POTATOES
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients
2-1/2 lbs gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup light cream
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp maple syrup
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, reserve some for topping
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped chives for garnish

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes and cook until a fork will easily slip into the center of a chunk of potato. This should be about 15-20 minutes.

Heat the milk, cream and butter in small saucepan over a low heat until the butter melts. Stir in the maple syrup. This may be done while the potatoes are cooking.

Drain your potatoes and return them to the pot. Using a potato masher or electric hand mixer, slowly stir in the milk mixture until potatoes are smooth and creamy.

Fold in chopped bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you are not serving int he mixing bowl, turn the mashed potatoes out into a serving dish. Top with remaining chopped bacon and sprinkle with chives.

Serve hot. Refridgerate any leftovers.

 

NOTE: Potatoes, like pasta, prefer to go into boiling water rather than to be started cold. Starting your potatoes in cold water will allow the outer layers to cook more rapidly than the interior, allowing the out layers to actually cook off the chunks. While this is a great method for reducing potatoes for potato soup, it’s not so great for mashed potatoes.

 

I can smell this just typing about it. It sounds like a wonderful take on sweet and savoury, just in time for your holiday gatherings.

Enjoy!

–Ann Cathey

 

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Savory Schmeres

This pair of recipes may be used as dips, schmeres, spreads, dollops, or any other way you can think of to serve them. I personally like them in small dollops on a cheese cracker or spread on biscuits hot out of the oven.

BACON JALAPENO JAM
Prep Time: 30 minuntes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Serves: 10

Ingredients
1¾ lb. thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1” pieces
2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
? cup cider vinegar
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup strong brewed coffee
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 bags (large) Kettle Brand Original Chips

Directions
Cook bacon over medium-high heat in a large skillet, stirring occasionally, until bacon is lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Transfer bacon pieces to a large plate or tray to drain.

Saute jalapeño, onion and garlic in bacon fat until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes, then add the vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and coffee.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet.

In a crockpot, combine the bacon and the vinegar mixture, stirring briefly to combine.
Cook on high, uncovered, for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and two tablespoons of the cooking liquid; stir into the bacon crockpot mixture.

Continue to cook on high, uncovered, for 3 hours. Carefully transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse mixture until coarsely chopped.

Transfer to a serving bowl and allow to cool before serving with chips.

Mixture can easily be made and refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 weeks before using.
MEATY ONION RELISH
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Serves: 10

Ingredients 
2 cups drippings from pork loin, roast beef or other roasted meat
4 large sweet yellow onions
1tsp black pepper
1tsp garlic powder or minced garlic

Directions

Peel and dice onions.

In crock pot, combine all ingredients. Set on medium and allow to cook until all onions are soft and clear.

Turn heat to high for 10 minutes. Add arrowroot powder and allow to thicken, stirring often.

Allow to cool before placing in a bowl to serve.

Relish may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks before using. Also good for canning project.

This relish relies on the spices used for the roasted meat as a major part of the flavoring. It will be a little different with every batch, depending on the drippings. Bits of meat and fat may be included, adding to the savory flavors.

 

I apologize for the lack of photos, but these were oddities in my kitchen. Hopefully you will give them a spin and let us know what you think.

Enjoy!

–Ann Cathey

Food Porn – Episode 8

Writing about food can work up a great appetite, but looking at food can make your stomach complain that you are not paying it proper attention.

Being a photographer as well as I writer, I am often confronted with photos that I have taken that don’t quite make the grade as stock photography, but are too good to be wasted. They get lonely when they are simply  archived.

Rather than let these photos sit, allow me to share these tasty items with everyone. Enjoy!

DSC_0405 - Stew

Hearty Homemade Stew – looks like dog food, tastes amazing over fresh cornbread.

DSC_0022 - Apple Bacon Honey

Apple Bacon Honey appetizer.

DSC_0829 - Hot Layered Dip

Hot Layered Dip – this was a recipe form ALDI featured earlier on this blog.

DSC_0023 - Savory mince meat

Savory Mince Meat – scratch made mince meat from a Viking period recipe.

DSC_0024 - Salmon

Cured Salmon with Dill

DSC_0308

Half-pound Burgers

Burgers and home-made sausage links on the grill.

Burgers and home-made sausage links on the grill.

Burger Wells

This little dish was the result of boredom, too much internet, and what was available in the kitchen. I think it turned out rather well, and the taste testers polished their plates.DSC_0607

Brown Rice

Brown Rice

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef (or venison, pork, or turkey)
1 lb bacon
2 eggs
2 tb salsa
1tsp cumin
1tsp onion powder
1tsp garlic powder
1 tb dried parsley
1/4tsp paprika
1tb butter
2 cups brown rice, pre-cooked
1/2 cup diced mushroom (or 1 10oz can)
1/2 pound asparagus, pre-cooked
1/2 cup grated Manchego

Asparagus and Mushrooms, drained

Asparagus and Mushrooms, drained

Directions:

Beef Well

Beef Well

Mix beef, spices, salsa and one egg thoroughly. Roughly quarter into balls. Squash the ball with a greased slender cup or glass and form sides up the glass. Remove carefully and place in baking pan or on individual squares of foil for grilling. Shape the meat mixture further if needed to get evenly thick and tall sides for each beef-well.

 

 

Bacon Wapped Well

Bacon Wrapped Well

Wrap each beef-well in a slice of bacon (add a little if needed).

Mix pre-cooked brown rice, asparagus (chopped) and diced mushroom into a bowl with 1/4 cup cheese. Mix well. Fill the beef-wells with this mixture and set the remainder aside.

Stuffed Well

Stuffed Well

DSC_0605

Asparagus lined Well

NOTE: In the photographed version, asparagus stems were used to line the sides of the well. They were precooked and thus already tender.

Take the remaining bacon and slice into pieces approximately 1/5-2 inches long. Carefully place a layer of bacon pieces across the top of each stuffed beef-well. this will help to contain moisture so that the veggies don’t dry out.

Slide the tray into the pre-heated oven for 40 minutes.

Into a skillet, toss the rest of the bacon strips and cook to preferred chewiness or crunchiness. Drain and set aside.

Drop butter into the skillet and allow it to melt. Add the remaining egg and stir vigorously. Before the egg is quite done, toss in the remaining stuffing and stir while the egg finishes cooking. Add the remaining bacon with a sprinkle of cheese and toss.

Emplate one beef-well with a quarter of the stir-fry, sprinkling remaining cheese on top.

We served with crescent rolls on the side, and this made up four lovely plates.DSC_0608

Give this a try and let us know how yours turned out!

— Ann Cathey

Food Porn Episode 6

This episode of Food Porn is brought to you by my kitchen. The food photos were, as they have been in this series, culled from stock photography. I’ve added a little info about each one, though I’m told they speak for themselves, especially the ones that scream, “BACON!”

DSC_0247Bunless bacon cheeseburgers! Broiled beef patties, hickory smoked bacon, shredded colbyjack cheese, and kosher dill slices.

 

DSC_0489Okay this one is not from my kitchen, but from a campout we enjoyed a month or so ago. Chicken Enchilada Lasagne with fresh diced tomatoes, a corn and black bean mix, with a side of French bread and butter.

 

Yellow curried chicken over white rice with mini pita on the side.

 

Scrambled ham with spices and ham sandwiched on a fresh butter croissant.

 

photoA heart attack on a butter croissant with coarse mustard, three layers of maple bacon, kosher dills, and colbyjack cheddar cheese.

 

DSC_0248Let’s get another look at that bunless bacon cheeseburger, shall we?

–Ann Cathey

Food Porn – The First Installment

Writing about food can work up a great appetite, but looking at food can make your stomach complain that you are not paying it any attention.

Being a photographer as well as I writer, I am often confronted with photos that I have taken that don’t quite make the grade as stock photography, but are too good to be wasted. They get lonely when they are simply  archived.

Rather than let them sit, I thought I would share some of these tasty items with everyone. Enjoy!

Reuben Sandwich form Wich Wich

Reuben Sandwich form Wich Wich

In case you are curious, check out Which Wich.

Mixed Pastas with "Everything" Red Sauce

Mixed Pastas with “Everything” Red Sauce

 Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Raw Veggies

Raw Veggies

Baby Asparagus and Carrots Roasted in Butter

Baby Asparagus and Carrots Roasted in Butter

Homemade Chicken Fried Bacon

Homemade Chicken Fried Bacon

— Ann Cathey

Crock-Pot Breakfast Casserole

A delightfully variable recipe came into my kitchen from a family reunion a few months ago. It’s taken all this time for me to try it out, and I’m sorry I waited!

The concept is simple – set it up the night before, so that it is hot and ready when you wake up the next morning. It’s great for parties when folks stay over, family gatherings, and for kid’s sleepovers. With the kids, it can be a great group activity to set up the meal.

Here is the basic recipe as I received it:

*  *  *  *  *
1 bag (2#) hashbrowns
1 jar salsa
1 bag real bacon bits
1 small bag shredded cheddar (2 cups)
1 dozen eggs
1 cup whole milk
Salt & pepper to taste

Spray crock pot with non-stick spray. (Or use a bag liner – your choice)

Layer 1/3 of hashbrowns evenly into the bottom of the crock pot, 1/3 bacon bits, 1/3 salsa and 1/3 of cheese. Repeat twice, ending with cheese.

In a separate bowl, scramble eggs and milk. Add salt and pepper. Pour mixture evenly throughout the crock pot.

Cover and cook overnight 8-10 hours. Serve!

*  *  *  *  *

Of course, my partner in food and I could not leave this alone.

Noticing the similarity between this recipe and a quiche (which we love and play with regularly), we picked up fresh eggs and cubed ham. Everything else needed was already in the kitchen.

We dutifully layered the hashbrowns, ham, and an excessive amount of cheddar into the pot, skipping the salsa for this first experiment. The eggs got a nice uplift of season salt, garlic and dill. We decided the salsa would be better if served cold and crisp on top of the hot and lovely casserole.

Two more friends joined us the next morning for breakfast. As we cracked the seal on the crock pot, the captivating aroma of melted cheese wafted playfully about the kitchen. Our attention, all four of us, was instantly riveted on the food.

We served up the gooey stuff from the crock-pot with a sprinkle of yet more cheese, a bit of salsa (hot sauce was also available), and, as if the cholesterol content wasn’t bad enough, a side of bacon.

This was a wonderful nosh! The possible variations for “next time” was the primary topic of conversation in between mouthfuls and moans of foodie pleasure.

Ham, sausage (pork, Italian, sage, chicken, etc.), crumbled bacon, and shredded turkey were all offered as possibilities for the meat ingredient. The cheese might need to be adjusted to compliment the meat, such as Mozzarella with Italian sausage, or Swiss for turkey.

Including the salsa in the crock-pot will give a nice flavor, though I personally prefer using as a condiment rather than a spice.

The “salt and pepper to taste” is an excellent base spice choice. Our use of garlic and dill rather than pepper gave the dish a mild flavor, enhancing the cheese rather than taking over. Spicing to match the meat/cheese combination is the way to go.

Experiment with this “super-quiche” and let us know what you come up with!

— Ann Cathey